Mozilla finally fixes an 8 year old bug to improve Firefox memory management

Memory management has always been a difficult issue for PC browsers, with the expectation that we will have tens of tabs open at the same time while web pages become more and more like actual, poorly optimised applications.

Now Mozilla has finally come round to addressing an 8-year-old bug report suggesting the rather obvious solution of closing or hibernating old tabs.

The report suggests:

Automatically unload (discard/hibernate) longly unused tabs to free resources / when running out of memory

The issue is of course that these days those tabs may be doing something useful, like playing Spotify or Pandora. Mozilla has created the following algorithm to decide which tabs to close when your RAM runs low:

  • first tabs that are not playing audio and not pinned
  • Pinned tabs not playing audio
  • tabs playing audio

The fix is present in Firefox 67 Nightly and can be controlled by changing the preference value browser.tabs.unloadOnLowMemory.

What do our readers think of this improvement? Let us know below.


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